Meet the Teacher: Donna Hurley
What is your name? Donna Hurley
What do you teach? The 2021-2022 school year welcomes me to my 28th year of employment in the Dayspring ministry. Currently I am director of curriculum and instruction, teacher of the sixth grade study skills course, National Honor Society adviser, overseer of the oration process at Dayspring, and member of the senior thesis advisory council.
What is your educational background? My teaching experience began in 1984 in St. Marc, Haiti, where my husband, Larry, and I ran the ACE program there for eight missionary children for one year. The missionaries moved to other places of ministry after that–nothing personal–and we began our involvement with the Haiti Discipling Center in Montrouis, where a team of us offered classes, seminars, food, and lodging to rural pastors and their wives for another two years.
In 1994 I began my first of two years as a classroom aide at Dayspring, where I learned to support our first and second grade teachers as they taught the Writing Road to Reading. I aided in PE and recesses, as well. I aided in DK during my second year, where I grew in amazement at what our little children could learn through the Principle Approach. That spring the Lord clearly called me to teach at Dayspring, and, with both daughters in school all day, I began teaching fifth grade in 1996, where I was blessed to remain for five years.
In 2001 I headed toward Middle School, where I taught English and reading as well as high school Algebra I and literature. During those years I took on an administrative role, that of lead teacher, and continued my love for–and belief in the value of–the oration process.
At one point I began teaching English with grades 6-8, Algebra I for whomever needed it, and Wisdom Books for grade 8, all of which I kept for many years.
More recently I moved to a part-time instructional role in order to develop the position of director of curriculum and instruction.
In the Summer 2022, I was certified as Principle Approach Master Teacher through the Foundation for American Christian Education. I hold a Master’s Degree in Education from Regent University.
Why did you decide to become a teacher? I never felt that I decided to become a teacher. I have always sensed that my being a teacher was a growing recognition that this was a “good work that God prepared beforehand that I should walk in [it]” (Ephesians 2.10). My decisions to grow in the ministry of teacher have been my responses to that sense of calling.
What do you appreciate the most about the Principle Approach? I most appreciate the TRUTH that is the foundation of the Principle Approach: it is based on God’s Word. We are blessed to recognize that all worth learning finds its basis in Scripture. We are able to see Truth at work in America’s founding and in her founding documents. All that we handle has first been handled by our Lord, who created all things: “For from Him and to Him and through Him are all things. To Him be the glory for ever” (Romans 11.36).
What do you see in your students that is most encouraging? I see love, earnestness, and willingness, and I see families behind these young people who yearn for God’s best for them!!!
Why do you love teaching at Dayspring? The opportunity to impact lives for God’s Kingdom is at the top of the list. I also love working in this environment, too, where we encourage each other to step up in Christ.
How do you teach a biblical worldview in your classroom? What is the key biblical principle at work? In Study Skills, for instance, when we are learning about the KIND of student we are, we recognize that CHARACTER is at hand. When identifying the kind of learner we are and our personality styles, we recognize God’s Principle of Individuality. When delving into researching skills, we are cognizant of Conscience, the Most Sacred of All Property (James Madison), and we practice those skills that will guard us from defrauding our consciences and support our honoring the intellect, creativity, and academia that has gone before us.
What do you think most students appreciate about your class? I don’t think of myself as cheery, but many, many students have appreciated about me that I am consistently cheerful/pleasant! Students have offered to me that they have learned math well from me over the years, that I brought forth concepts clearly. Many have shared that they have seen the biblical connections to the courses. That blesses me! I always hope that as biblical ideals are taught they will also be caught.
What is unique about you, your talents, or interests that you bring to the classroom? God has allowed me to have many experiences in life; I draw from these from time to time. It is not unique to me that I deeply value the Bible and the opportunities I have to share Scripture and biblical ideas with my students, but every teacher offers these gems in a manner unique to him/her. I have a host of varied ways of teaching so that I can usually reach each student in one way or another, too!
What have you seen in your students over the years that has touched your heart the most? Change. The Bible calls this change as going from glory to glory in His image (II Cor. 3.18). I am GRATEFUL to God when I see it or hear of it. In addition, I deeply appreciate the testimonies of how writing a meaningful oration–with all of that intensive labor–has strengthened faith, abilities, and understanding, and has even prepared students well for their next steps, such as college, ministry, etc. Lastly, I will always thank God for those young people who sang Bible memory passages with me years ago in fifth grade and in my early Middle School years while I strummed the guitar: a number of them have told me that they are teaching their children these passages now. What can be better than that?
At Dayspring Christian Academy, we are committed to raising up the next generation of Christian leaders who acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ in every area of life, demonstrate a biblical worldview, become citizens of excellence in Christian character and scholarship, and aid in the restoration of America’s biblical foundation. If you would like to learn more about Dayspring Christian Academy, please contact Karol Hasting at 717-285-2000 or schedule a private tour using the button below.